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Dave Duerson (American football), Sammy Wanjiru (athletics), Hideki Irabu (baseball), Peter Roebuck (cricket), Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak (ice hockey), Jeret Peterson (freestyle skiing), Gary Speed (soccer). The list of suicides in sport in 2011 is extensive, and while a death by suicide is always tragic, in the case of sport it seems doubly so. Sport is good for us and something we should enjoy. Sport makes us mentally and physically strong, yet we think of suicide as an act of weakness. How can a professional athlete be depressed when they have the best job in the world? But suicide is a fact of sporting life and sports medicine has a role to play in its prevention.
The Epidemiology and Sociology of Suicide
Epidemiological work suggests that the prominence of suicides in sport is actually quite predictable. Sport is dominated by young men and studies show a 4:1 ratio of male to female suicides.1 Although suicide rates increase with age, suicide is the third leading cause of deaths among 18 to 24-year-olds in the USA.2 Suicide is often also linked to occupational contingencies that are common …
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